Back in the day when I was still a padawan with the Chuk Kai Tai Chi Praying Mantis Federation I had to start training again basically from the ground up. I had to re-learn forms (katas) from what my former Shifu taught and learn the Federation standard. A bit tricky but doable. One has to be able to empty your cup of old tea as is said in Zen circles. Unattached.
When I first came to Japan, I figured I needed some practice but for the most part I was on point. To pass for San-dan I really just needed to hit the mato once. The rest of my stuff was passable.
I also thought that testing in the states was at the same standard as testing in Japan. after all the Hanshi from Japan did the grading , not the American Sensei. We were told it is the same standard.
With the number of adjustments, corrections, and relearns I am receiving before going to this test, am have have serious doubts about the equalness of the Shinsa criteria here in Japan and in The States. The Kyohon states very basic items should be in order. That seems to be true however, the details leading to those basics are coming out different. This also makes sense with a statement I read about the dan pass rates are higher in the States than here in Japan.
It could be that some of these adjustments and correction have nothing to do with passing the Shinsa fro San-dan, perhaps to just make me a better Kyudoka and prepare me more for the next level. Making the transition to 3-4 dan and above much easier, simpler.
All this to say. I worked with another Sempai Sensei today who gave me a number of adjustments. I am most grateful, even though it threw me into a bit of a tailspin for a moment having to dump some old learned lessons from the States and reprogram in new ones. A couple of old ones, I was told are wrong. I only see it as positive. The help, the willingness to help, the raising of my training. This Sensei Sempai watched me from entry to exit and corrected details. I took notes so I can remember. Arigatou gozaimasu!!
I am starting to feel more confident. I find that if I follow the Kaicho’s advise on going into Hikiwaki and Kai my probability of a hit increases two fold or more. Even thugh I feel like I am over doing the Hikiwaki motion and arch, when I do it I hit or am right on the edge of the Mato. There are still somethings I need to work on, like staying centered, not leaning into the target. Holding the large crosses, etc, still from the test I did today, I can tell when I am am on target.
This is a great improvement from just a week ago. I can see from here there is no way I would have passed if I had taken the test earlier than now. Even now I still need work, but… I am much much closer.